Wikimedia CEE Meeting 2019/Programme/Submissions/Long distance relationships: affiliates and geographic dispersion

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Long distance relationships
affiliates and geographic dispersion
Type of submission (lecture, panel, workshop, lightning talk, roundtable, poster)
  • roundtable
Author(s) of the submission



Wikimedians of Romania and Moldova

  • Community Engagement
Abstract (up to 100 words)

Due to emigration, local censorship or just lack of resources, some affiliates in the CEE end up having to handle geographic dispersion as part of they business model. This means less face2face time, different timezones, holidays etc. This roundtable is a place were interested parties can exchange ideas and best practices on how to make such an organization successful and hopefully come up with a learning pattern.

How will this session be beneficial for the communities in the region of Central and Eastern Europe?

The issue addressed by this roundtable affects a large number of CEE affiliates. Having a learning pattern come out of it would help communities overcome such problems.

Special requirements

I would prefer not to be the facilitator for this session, so having a facilitator would help.

Slides or further information

Interested attendeesEdit

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  1. There could be at least two aspects discussed here: (1) collaboration with diaspora, solving possible tension between those who stayed at home and those who moved abroad; (2) people from different cities working together --Papuass (talk) 09:18, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
  2. Vogone (talk) 12:52, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
  3. Yupik (talk) 23:45, 26 July 2019 (UTC)
  4. Samat (talk) 09:04, 9 August 2019 (UTC)
  5. W (talk) 10:52, 18 September 2019 (UTC)


  • What their problems are?
    • problem with doing things as it for both countries Romania and Moldova
    • due to the distance there are communication issues
    • wants to learn learning pattern
    • how to maintain the long distance relationship between other users
    • in Romania they use WhatsApp and other countries usually use Viber
    • using email for not (not very good as some people do not read them)
    • need easier to use communication channels
  • Suggestions:
Kubof / Esperanto
  • Esperanto group is even more dispersed. Very few in-face meetings. Nothing locale, everything online. Conferences are important to have meetings.
  • Due to the dispersity majority of the things need to be done and decided online. When it comes to the coordination of the group is to go to Wikimania or other conferences.
  • Esperanto Wikimania was a good way to establish better relationship. That can be costly, so it is still in development.
  • Teleseminars in order to engage people more.
  • They meet in the library, once a month. Not so many people can fit (between 5-10). However, they do meet regularly. As the meeting is in Minsk some of them cannot come as they need to travel from afar.
  • Maybe to organize a camp, but it is difficult to organize.
Being the member of 3 user groups
  • In person events. Communication is mostly done via social media as the users are from all over the world. Facebook group, Google group...
  • event / meetups / AGMs:
  • Most editors are from Budapest. In Hungary it is mostly Budapest concentrated. Traveling in Hungary is not a good option as they need to cross half the country. Most meetings are on the weekend to allow time for travel. Sometimes if people have time, they are held during the week. Time of the meeting can be problematic. Leadership challenges. This can cause challenges but can produce some new and good ideas (video conference, electronic participation is now legally and technically possible). As some of the users are abroad time difference is also a problem.
  • general communication:
    • Mailing list is mostly used but it is becoming less and less frequent. Now, they are slowly transferring to Facebook. The future idea is to go to Wikimedia Space.
  • In Latvia the biggest community is in Riga where the majority of the people live. The problem is that the users that live outside of the city are being excluded. They use Facebook, but not all of the users are using that platform. Skype chat is an option as well. They try to publish everything on several different channels. Getting ideas from people working remotely.
Wiki Women's User group
  • As they are all over the world, they have found it extremely challenging to find the best way of communication. For now they are using Telegram. So far it has shown to be the best option form them. Still not perfect but it works.
  • Started as a small user group, was very hard but they learned. They recognized that everyone is on Telegram during Wikimanias or some other even, so they figured out that this is what they should
  • Security issues (GDPR). They want to try Matrix (very open so some users are concerned about it). It is not good that Wikipedia app itself does not have a good messaging system. (which would be a good option to have)
  • Signal ** more secure option
  • ** single authorization tool so you can publish at once to more channels
  • Worth to try:
  • Public or private channels
  • What is more needed, public or private channel?
    • Wikimedia Space: has its good thing but not everyone is yet familiar with it
    • most of discussions have been moved to private mailing lists (there is a need of private discussion more)
    • Discord can be used as a mean of communication. (can be secure and helps of preventing people acting on their own, safe space)
    • New editor find it hard to get help. Difference between the Visual editor and old wiki editor way. Can affect retention.
  • Travel support for in-person events:
  • Offering a reimbursement rather than offering a grant for transportation (so they do not cancel and we lose money)
  • For events that are not community meetups paying for their ticket is not recommended.
  • Questions:
    • Online meetings,
    • promoting Facebook groups on projects
    • online meetings for CEEM, it was an open call on Skype. It was not the most efficient but it was quite inclusive.
    • measured the length of how much is one speaking (basic level or facilitation)
    • tried to engage people as much as possible
    • Facebook Group ** not always good option. The better option is to open like a Facebook Page (attracted more people and reached more people)
    • for new users, they are contacted privately and afterward they can register to be allowed to participate on the Facebook pages
    • it helped for contributions to grow
    • Group chat can contain a lot of spam (needed to cancel the messaging)
  • Personal approach can be very helpful